change the sheets & then change me (uselessmarks) wrote in passion_perfect,
change the sheets & then change me

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Redemption - 28/? [PG]

Title - Redemption
Fandom - Guiding Light
Paring - Olivia/Natalia
Warnings and/or Spoilers - No spoilers. This is an AU (Alternative Universe) story, so some stuff will be very different than what is on the show. Reference to drugs. Cursing. Some angst. And a certain horrible act is now in the forefront, so be aware.
Summary - Olivia Spencer is falling apart and takes an undercover case in order to ignore her pain. But along with drugs and crooked cops and an unexpected ally, she finds a reason to finally heal and live again. Multi-chapter thing.
Rating - PG currently, hard-R in later chapters - 1-12 of Redemption - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 - 20 - 21 - 22 - 23 - 24 - 25 - 26 - 27

Calls one through three are from Frank Cooper, tones going from cool efficiency (‘Olivia, this is Frank Cooper. Give me a call ASAP.’) to downright edgy (‘Olivia, dammit, answer your phone… I’ve got some bad news that you might be interested in. Medina is out and we need to talk.’)

But Olivia isn’t ready for that just yet, not after the night she has had.
Her head, that vital part of her cop persona – the one thing that has kept her from catching a stray bullet all these years – just isn’t in the game this morning.
It is upstairs, with Natalia Rivera.
And it is in the past, trying desperately to cut ties to old pains and ancient demons.

The fourth call is from Emma and Olivia’s eyes light up when she hears that girl’s voice (‘Hi mommy. Oh and Max says hello too. We miss you. When are you coming home? Because our teacher says there is a family day and…’). Emma goes on and Olivia wants to go home, right now.
She doesn’t want to spend another day away from Emma and her goodness and her innocence…

Olivia hands shakily end the message and she looks out into the cool dawn of Springfield, this town that has brought her the greatest of gifts and the worst of nightmares.
And she wonders if, somehow, the universe guided her here, to this place and to this case – just for the sole purpose of breaking her down, of opening up those scars that just wouldn’t heal…

All so I could finally and truly mend, so that I could actually have a shot at being whole…

She isn’t used to such deep thinking. Time and time again, Olivia has sidestepped these thoughts, these feelings, all so she could keep on running from the fact that she was only halfway-human.

Halfway built, like a building left unfinished… the insides exposed to every storm, walls left bare…

And she isn’t used to being like this, pensive and quiet.
Olivia is the one who usually shouts her way to calm, the kind of person who would – normally – shoot first and never ask questions later.

Anything to stop feeling. Anything to stop thinking. Anything at all… to avoid…

But here she is, in a town scattered with her lies and with her painful truths, staring off into space when an investigation beckons and lives are at stake… and not just my own…

And all Olivia can see is her own face looking back, challenging and demanding and smirking – trying to convince her just how wrong all of this is.

‘You are a faker. You are a bitch. Don’t forget that.’ , is what that person seems to say, words echoing in Olivia’s head – a mantra that’s been her own since the very day she left San Cristobal.
But… it just doesn’t ring true anymore.
‘You are never going to be happy. Stop fooling yourself. Stop before you really get hurt.’, is what that person is repeating, over and over, desperate and scared.
But… but…

It’s not true, though, is it? That’s just what I’ve been telling myself… for forever and a day… my biggest and most convincing lie…

Here she is, Olivia Spencer, somewhere between child and adult – pushing and fighting against layers of anger and agony… for the first time, I am pushing and fighting for myself

It isn’t about hiding. It isn’t about fear.

It isn’t about this case. It isn’t even about Jeffrey. I am fighting for me. And I just can’t lose… I can’t… not this time… I won’t let that happen, not this time…

A cup of coffee is in her face suddenly and Olivia blinks, tilting her head up and she sees a pair of brown eyes accompanied by a warm smile.
And Olivia, as if she has been doing this for all of her life, smiles right back.
And it is blindingly real.

And I hope to God it is the first of many…

They sit in silence, side by side, drinking their coffee and watching the traffic wake up for the day.
And Natalia has this tiny grin on her face, like she knows some secret and can barely keep it in.
And it makes Olivia want to grin as well.
So… she does.

She lets go of the pretense, allows the acceptance to seep in and watches in wonder as it grows… as it thrives… in her bones and singing in her blood, timid but eager – contradictions that all carry the same destination…

And Natalia looks over, tilts her head in a pleasant way, and Olivia can’t help herself.

With this woman, I never can seem to. She is always getting more out of me than I intend. Clever trick she’s got going on there…

But Olivia isn’t suspicious, not anymore.
She isn’t going to distrust this woman anymore. She isn’t going to disregard these feelings anymore.

‘Life is short’ is such a cliché, but fuck… its true, isn’t it? And how much time have I wasted? How much time have I spent in this endless duck-and-cover… only to lose myself?
Not this time. Not this time.

It is a new mantra, wild and raw against her tongue.
But Olivia Spencer is fearless – in the best of ways and in the worst of ways – and this time is no different.
And yet… it is. It so is.

“Thank you.”
“For what?”
“The coffee… for letting me talk, uh, last night… for being there when I really needed someone… when I really needed… you.”

And Natalia’s face slides and shifts again, like the sun breaking over mountain-tops, happiness and contentment evident.

“Anytime, Olivia… anytime you need me, just say the word and I am there.”
“I… believe you, I really do.”
“Good. Because I mean it. You… you aren’t alone anymore, okay?”

And there it is, that thing that Olivia couldn’t say up in that room – watching Natalia sleep – but that she felt underneath her skin, stretching and yawning, making space where they used to be none.

I’m not alone anymore.

It rattles around in her head, a pinball of all she’s ever wanted and all she’s fled from – as close to her as her gun, as dear to her as her memories… loneliness has been Olivia Spencer’s life.

I’m not alone anymore.

And she honestly believes that if she repeats it enough, it might… really… come true this time.

Natalia leans over and places a quick kiss upon Olivia’s cheek, close to the corner of her mouth and she catches the scent of hazelnut.
And Olivia smiles, because she feels like it.

Even when her phone buzzes again and the moment passes, Natalia getting up with a knowing look and mentioning that she ‘should really go back to her room and check on Rafe’…

Olivia keeps on smiling, not as a cover to anything… but because she wants to.

I’m not alone anymore.

And Olivia Spencer actually believes it.


“Ma, where have you been? I’ve been worried sick!”

Natalia Rivera has seen a lot of things and experienced even more… especially recently… but it is an amusing bit of role reversal playing out right now, with her being the one coming home late and her son standing there, looking very stern for such a young man.

She smiles a little sheepishly and shuts the door fully, choosing to lean against it and face Rafe head-on.

“I was… with Olivia.”

The boy nods and looks to the floor, his gaze clouded and his brow furrowed.
And Natalia isn’t sure what is going to come out of his mouth first – he said that as long as I am happy, he is happy… but now that it is clear what is going on between Olivia and I… will he still mean that?
She didn’t raise Rafe in a strict Catholic way, not like her parents did with her, but she did instill a belief in God in her son.
It was to be an anchor when waters got rough, an entity on which the boy could place his troubles and doubts and gather comfort.
She needed it so often in the days that followed the discovery of being pregnant.
She needed it when the nights got long and her feet got tired and all she wanted to do was give up.

But she didn’t prescribe to every notion.
God is love. That is all. And God wants us all to be happy, to be fulfilled, to find joy where we can and hold on for dear life.

God brought Olivia Spencer to this town.
And Natalia won’t let the woman go, not even for her son.

So, don’t ask me to, Rafe… please don’t ask me to…

“You’ve got to make your own decisions, Ma.”

And there he is again, a boy sounding so much older than he should and Natalia isn’t sure what to make of his comment.

“Rafe, I thought… you said that…”
“Look, it’s not about, you know… it’s not about that, really…”
“Then what is it?”
“Are you really sure? I mean, I see your face and I get it. But Olivia… she doesn’t live a nice life, Ma.”
“I know.”
“Do you?”

Natalia gets a flash of Olivia right then, crying and shaking and Natalia recalls the hellish works spoken – the kind of words that you never want to hear from anyone, syllables like shards of glass and each one pierced Natalia’s soul.

Natalia can still feel Olivia in her arms, can still smell the woman and taste her lips and…

Oh, Rafe, I think… right now… I know Olivia better than anyone. Even herself.

“I do.”

And Rafe’s eyes, so like her own, watch her carefully – judging for himself what is real and what is not.
And he sighs heavily.

“Sometimes, Rafael, the hardest of roads brings the greatest of rewards… and I learned that with you. You are my finest lesson, you know.”
“Yea, right.”
“No, you listen to me—“
“Ma, you gave up everything for me and how did I repay you? I lied to you and I fucked up and I led you to this place, to this… life… I just don’t want to see you get hurt again. That’s all.”

Natalia pushes away from the door, quiet steps across the kitchen floor, and she wraps her arms about her son. And she holds him as he cries, back to being like a little child again and she the only source of solace.
And her shoulders – the ones that spent years working and carrying every burden – they now seem unencumbered and free.
She can hold Rafe’s sorrow and regret. She can hold Olivia’s anguish.
She is like Atlas, but without feeling a sense of debt and despair – she can hold up her world because, after so long, she is sure of that world and her position within it.

And maybe it was seeing her son as an adult, capable of mistakes and – yet - of great understanding.
And maybe it was meeting Olivia Spencer, of falling for the woman and not allowing either of them to squander this chance.
And maybe it was everything – Nicky and losing her parents to their own shame; the constant moving and the endless toiling… maybe it was everything – Springfield and friends and a room of her own…

But Natalia Rivera feels strong, strong enough to handle anything.
She can handle her son being involved in this case and she can handle whatever Olivia Spencer throws her way…

Because I love them both. And they are worth all of this.
And I won’t let them go. Not ever.

“It will all be okay, Rafe. And don’t you ever think, not for one second, that I regret how my life has turned out. I love you, more than anything.”
“I know, Ma…”

His voice is muffled against her, tear-soaked and small, and she pulls his face upward and cups his cheek.

“Never forget it, Rafael. Never.”

And she holds her son close, for minutes and minutes on end, trying to let him know with her actions that he is still the reason she kept going for all those years.

And not even this bit of madness we find ourselves in will change that.


“So, who posted Medina’s bail?”
“Why haven’t you been answering my calls?”
“I am now, Frank, so c’mon – tell me all about this ‘bad news’.”
“Well, I am not saying I am totally convinced of this O’Neill angle—“
“Ah. So, Jeffrey O’Neill got Medina out.”

Just saying his name hurts. It really does. Like a punch to my face.

“Yes. Said it was pro-bono work. It was… it is odd, I’ll admit…”
“Is Rafe on for tonight?”
“Maldonado wants more of Weston, so yea.”
“And you need more convincing?”
“About Jeffrey O’Neill’s involvement? You better believe it. I won’t go charging in and making accusations without some kind of proof, Olivia.”
“Don’t get all worked up, Detective.”
“Look, Olivia, this is serious—“
“You don’t think I know that? I get it.”

It is quiet then and Olivia swears she can hear Frank Cooper’s wheels turning, grinding and attempting to put the pieces together.

Let’s see how far you get, Detective, hmm? Give it your best shot.

“When are you going to tell me why you were so quick to pin this on O’Neill? I don’t like flying blind, not in a situation like this.”

Ah, cutting right to the chase…

“It has no bearing on this case, Detective, I assure you.”
“Really? Is that why Mallet told me you were acting so strange and why you came in here, all half-cocked and ready for a fight the other day?”
“Just a bad day, I guess.”
“Detective Cooper… I’m going to help you with this case and nothing will get in the way of that, okay? You gotta trust me on this.”

Frank Cooper snorts, a short sound of not-so-amused laughter and Olivia can’t help the rolling of her eyes.

“I must be crazy, but… I do trust you. I mean, you do some really unorthodox things and sometimes you really piss me off…”
“Aww, you flatterer.”

They both chuckle down the line.

“Are we actually getting along?”
“Yea. I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.”
“Fine by me. I wouldn’t want something like that to get around.”

Frank sighs and Olivia finally stands up, ready to start this new day… ready to put all these things to rest, once and for all…

Come hell or high-water, right? Because it is worth it, right? I am worth this… I am not that little girl anymore, I am not that shattered woman anymore… I can be more than that… right?

Of course, she knows the real test will be seeing him again.
Seeing Jeffrey, up close and catching the moment he recognizes her… seeing Jeffrey, his adult face superimposed over his teenage visage…

That’ll be my make-or-break moment. And God help me, I don’t want to break. Not this time.

She pictures Natalia and she thinks of Emma and she imagines her life anew – with hope, with opportunity, with a damn chance at happiness…

And I won’t let it go this time. I won’t sacrifice it for something long gone, not this time.

“Tonight is the night we are going to get the proof you need, Detective.”
“Am I going to like this idea?”
“Probably not, but that’s nothing new.”


Tags: guiding light

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